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ASPartOfMe
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14 Jul 2022, 9:16 am

The Democratic Party Is No Match for a Nation on Fire Sasha Abramsky for the Nation

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Tuesday afternoon, I was watching the latest Congressional hearings into the putsch attempt of January 6th, 2021.

Given what is being detailed in these hearings—and given the miasma of extremism that makes up much of the web these days—it’s not a stretch to say that American democracy is clinging to life by the thinnest of threads. America’s political leadership, especially in the Democratic Party, is ancient, staid, and entirely vulnerable to escalating crises with which they are personally and temperamentally ill-equipped to deal. President Biden is fast approaching 80. His main primary rival in the Democratic race from 2020, Bernie Sanders, is nearly 81. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is 82. California’s senior senator, Diane Feinstein, is a whopping 89.

The list goes on. Even Senate majority leader Charles Schumer, the baby of the bunch, is now in his seventies. They grew up in a different era (pre-Nixon), one in which politics was often feisty and frequently nasty, one in which violent extremists on the margins certainly inflicted pain and suffering. But it was one in which key players at the heart of power could mostly be counted on to accept the basic democratic mechanisms of the American political system and could generally be assumed to shy away from civil war-promoting rhetoric. The world they grew up in was capable, at least belatedly, of reining in the Joe McCarthys and John Birchers before those thugs could completely eviscerate the democracy. That world has vanished. It was already fragile when Trump got his hands on power in 2016; it was largely a dead duck by the time he lost the election in 2020. In the two years since then, that fury, that irrationality, that language of violence and vitriol has, if anything, only intensified.

Yet the gerontocrats currently running the country seem to have no ability to comprehend the five-alarm urgency of the moment. They proceed with their politics as if they are still playing the gentlemen’s games of the past.

That goes for the extraordinarily milquetoast responses to Trump’s ongoing outrages. But it also goes for the normalization of extremism that transpired after Trumpism essentially conquered the Republican Party, and now that Trump-appointed judges have taken a wrecking ball to everything from the right to abortion to the right to vote to the ability to regulate climate change-inducing greenhouse gases.

Why isn’t the Biden administration moving more forcefully to take on domestic extremists, including Trump? Why is there virtually no discussion of expanding the Supreme Court, three of whose members were appointed by a president now under investigation for plotting to overthrow the constitutional system of government? Why was the Administration so utterly unprepared to deal with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, given they must have known from the very first day Biden took office that such an outcome was likely? Why has the Administration been so woefully unable to secure meaningful climate change prevention and mitigation investments? Why did the Administration sleepwalk its way into an inflation crisis that now threatens to hand congressional power back to a far-right GOP? There is a lack of stamina and of focus in their responses that gives the impression of an administration and a presidency chronically, perhaps terminally unengaged, one seeking to avert crisis simply by turning a blind eye to the bad news.

A poll earlier this week showed that only one in three Americans approve of Biden’s job performance. That same poll found that nearly two in three Democrats—yes, Democrats—wanted someone other than Biden to be their presidential candidate come 2024.

These are calamitous numbers not just for Biden but for the Democratic Party, and, because of the stakes involved, and given the Republican embrace of extremism and denial of climate change realities, not just for the Democratic Party but for the country and the world.

The saying “s**t or get off of the pot” may be crude, but it contains a valid truth. Biden, Pelosi, Schumer et al, were handed a golden opportunity in 2020 to puncture the Trumpian balloon, to truly tackle his deadly personality cult, and to refashion politics in a big, bold, progressive and durable way. They have spectacularly failed to do so. After weeks of primetime congressional hearings that have copiously detailed Trump’s narcissism, his dishonesty, his penchant for violence, and his willingness to stoke the flames of civil conflict solely for his own personal gain, he still remains politically competitive and still hovers over the country as a potential GOP presidential nominee come 2024. It all shows just how damaged the political culture is and just how ineffective the Biden Administration, and its brand, has become.

The “woke” be it BLM or Antifia seemed to have answers fight fire with fire, violence with violence, bad guy illiberalism with good guy illiberalism. The democratic socialists had their answer, deal with the capitalism root causes of our problems. Rightly or wrongly most voters including Democrats reject these answers as destroying the country to save it. Having done so they are left with trying to figure out which national collapse will be less bad.

Those of us boomers want to look back to the ‘60s when we dealt with national divide without destroying the country to save it. Maybe we should look further back to the 1930s and 1940s when we dealt successfully with a much worse economy and a much worse far right authoritarian threat both internally and externally. But it is not 1940 and no Franklin Roosevelt or Winston Churchill is around and even if they were because of technology they might as unsuccessful as Biden. If the problem is to be solved the leaders have to be both influenced by Roosevelt and Churchill and yet have the ability and updated thinking to use social media. This is a tall and on a national level probably an impossible task. Maybe the most that can be done is at a local and internet space level. if so, it is still worth the effort.


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Last edited by ASPartOfMe on 14 Jul 2022, 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tim_Tex
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14 Jul 2022, 9:28 am

The younger Dems best suited would be governors like Jared Polis and Andy Beshear, senators like Raphael Warnock and Catherine Cortez-Masto, and representatives like Lizzie Fletcher and Josh Harder.

Also, Stacey Abrams would be good as well.



cyberdad
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14 Jul 2022, 11:51 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong but college students died in the 1960s at the hands of police and vigilantes as they marched and campaigned against the evils of segregation. civil rights, the Vietnam war, gay and women's rights? People were accused of being communists or terrorists and locked up.

The country was certainly divided along progressive/conservative lines.

Instead of communists and terrorists the MAGAs are labelling progressives as Antifa and BLM

Please don't fall for the ruse



ASPartOfMe
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15 Jul 2022, 1:43 am

cyberdad wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong but college students died in the 1960s at the hands of police and vigilantes as they marched and campaigned against the evils of segregation. civil rights, the Vietnam war, gay and women's rights? People were accused of being communists or terrorists and locked up.

Generally, the George Floyd protests and reactions to them were more widespread than those of the 1960s but the ones in the 1960s were more lethal.



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cyberdad
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15 Jul 2022, 1:57 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong but college students died in the 1960s at the hands of police and vigilantes as they marched and campaigned against the evils of segregation. civil rights, the Vietnam war, gay and women's rights? People were accused of being communists or terrorists and locked up.

Generally, the George Floyd protests and reactions to them were more widespread than those of the 1960s but the ones in the 1960s were more lethal. ]


The 60s involved assassination of progressive political leaders, murder of civil rights campaigners, locking up of unions labelled as communists, locking up of black community workers labelled as terrorists, targeting of women's rights and gay rights movements as subversives. The late 50s and early 60s saw the incarceration of publishing editors, actors and sports stars for speaking out against the US government.

A number of people (like Eartha Kitt) had to leave the US as she was a target for speaking out

As an outsider looking in, it reminded me of a people's uprising against a corrupt regime